Courtesy of the Jewish Women's Archive

"Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.

Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame."

1151: Hannah Szenes

Poet and Special Operations Executive Paratrooper During World War II

Born: 17 July 1921, Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary (Present-day Budapest, Hungary)

Died: 7 November 1944, Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary (Present-day Budapest, Hungary)

Hannah was raised in a well-to-do Hungarian-Jewish family and was educated well as a result. Her father died when she was a child.

In 1939, Hannah emigrated to Palestine to escape the Jewish persecution happening in Europe after she became a Zionist. However, four years later Hannah was approached by officials and asked to train as a wireless radio operator and paratrooper.

Hannah trained to rescue Jewish Shoah Victims. She was dropped into Yugoslavia in March but was captured the following June while trying to cross into Hungary. For months, Hannah was tortured but she refused to speak. Eventually her tormentors arrested Hannah’s mother, but both women continued to remain silent.

In November, Hannah was given the option to request a pardon. Instead, she chose the method of her own execution: death by firing squad. Hannah refused to wear a blindfold and stared her executioners’ down as they took her life. She was only twenty-three years old.

After Hannah’s death, her mother was instrumental in ensuring her daughter’s memory never faded. She published Hannah’s diary and poems, keeping her story alive.

Hannah is still recognized as a Heroine of Israel. In 1950, her remains were brought to Israel and buried in the military cemetery on Mount Herzl. In 1993, The Hungarian Military supreme court officially repealed Hannah’s treason conviction.

Badges Earned:

Find a Grave Marked

Located In My Personal Library:

Time Magazine's 100 Women of the Year (Hannah appears in the 1942 article, "The Resisters")